San Pedro Boondocking area Amistad National Recreation Area Del Rio Texas
I made it safely to the Amistad National Recreation Area, which is just outside Del Rio Texas and arrived just before lunch. The San Pedro camping area looks like a nice place for Boondocking. It's very spacious and all pull throughs which I'm very partial to. There's no one here but me at the moment, which means it will be very quiet and peaceful. I paid the Iron Ranger for five days just to see how it goes which came to a grand total of $10 since I have a geezer pass.
I haven't looked around at all so I don't know what's going on here and what there is to do, but I'll go pokeing around tomorrow and see what I can find in the area. I spent most of my time today unloading the Yamaha WR450, sweeping more sand out of the trailer, and oiling things that squeak. The Yamaha survived Padre Island in good shape. It's got some rust on the chain, and a few spots of rust on the the brake discs but overall it came through just fine. The chain and the cable that I lock it up with got kind of rusty, and the two locks I use look pretty bad.
I finally got enough oil in the door hinges so it doesn't take two hands to open it. And the folding steps will now open and close without me working up a sweat. If I can remember it tomorrow I'll take apart my collapsing poles that hold my cell phone antenna and my Wi-Fi antenna and clean the sand out of them.
I haven't even started on the truck yet. I see some rust where there shouldn't be any, and there's enough sand on the floor to build a modest sized castle. I don't think it was just being next to the beach that caused all this. I think a large part of the problem was the two storms that we had the month I was there. The winds were blowing 40 miles an hour and I think that was enough to get sand and salt water into places where it wouldn't normally go. So maybe when the weather's better people don't have this much of a problem.
Whatever it is I'm glad to be in a place now where the humidity is reasonable, the temperatures are supposed to be in the seventies next week, and it's only two dollars a day to boondock.
The Arctic Fox at the San Pedro Boondocking area
The Arctic Fox at Amistad national recreation area
Sunrise at Bob Hall fishing pier Padre Island Texas
Today was cloudy but calm so I had an easy drive to Uvalde Texas, if everything goes as planned tomorrow I will be at the Amistad National Recreation Area.
I'm Boondocking at the Uvalde Walmart, no surprise there, because it sure saves a lot of money when you're traveling and you can boondock at a Walmart parking lot for a night or two. Last month I spent way more than I normally would for a camp site. But I felt it was worth it because I was right next to the beach, had water and electric hookups, was close to shopping, and it wasn't crowded. So even though it cost me about $600 for that month, I can deal with that because in January I'm hoping I won't be spending very much at all.
When I went down to Arizona last winter I was very familiar with southern Arizona having spent years running around the State and owning some property in Tombstone I pretty much knew what I was facing with RV parks, Boondocking, and living there in general. So spending the whole winter in Arizona was an easy transition from just visiting.
But Texas is different. Mostly I had just driven through Texas either on I 40 up north through the Panhandle, or I 10 down South which goes the full width of Texas, usually without stopping and seeing much of anything. I did make a couple of trips down south as far as Brownsville where I did a little sightseeing along the way, but mostly my Texas experience was “just passing through”. So that's made this winter's trip to Texas “a work in progress”, and a learning experience.
So far my experience has been that Texas can be pretty expensive if you stay on the coast, and that's not surprising, in fact it would be surprising if it wasn't. And I don't mean just the cost of camping, even Walmart was charging a little more for some things than I've paid elsewhere. And then there's the cost of dealing with rust and sand if you're anywhere near the beach.
Why does sand cost anything you may ask, well here's one example. Normally I oil the hinges on the Arctic Fox's door a couple of times a year. But on the beach, because of the blowing sand, I had to oil the door about every week or I could hardly get it opened and closed, so what do you get when you mix oil with sand ?..... you get a grinding compound. So every time you open and close the door your rapidly wearing out the hinges, which one day will need to be replaced, and that costs money. And it was the same thing with my folding steps. The morning I was leaving I tried folding the steps up and they wouldn't move. I had to go inside and get some spray lube and spray everything on the steps that is supposed to move, and finally got them able to close. So even though these things aren't the end of the world they still add up to a hassle and some possible expenses down the road that you might not otherwise have had.
Now I haven't in any way given up on Texas as a place to spend the winter, I realize I'm still learning and Texas is a mighty big playground to learn in. So I'll keep running around trying different areas and hopefully be able to find some great Texas places that will keep me and my solar panels happy.
The wind woke me up this morning before my usual crawling out of bed time, and I knew from the sound of it that my travel plans were in jeopardy. Fortunately my travel plans are so ethereal that things like that don't affect me so I went back to sleep figuring I might have to spend another night at Walmart.
Sure enough when I got up and checked the weather on the computer there were high wind warnings out in my part of Texas for high profile vehicles, and that means me.
So I settled into another day of parking lot life and just fooled around in the Arctic Fox cleaning things up and trying to get some of the sand out of the trailer. I think once I get to where I'm going I'll have to spend some serious time trying to get the sand out of the trailer and the truck. and I hope I can find a car wash that I can get in to wash the salt off of the trailer and the truck because I'm sure it's going to haunt me for the rest of my life.
I had to dig deep in my pictures folder to find a few more Padre Island pictures to post to avoid the ubiquitous and boring full frontal shot of a Walmart store, or the slightly less boring snapshot of the Arctic Fox boondocked in the Walmart parking lot. I'm not sure why but I try to keep the pictures I post contemporaneous. There's no rule that says I have to do that but for some reason I feel like that's the way it should be. I could very easily post a snapshot that I took back in Colorado or New Mexico but that kind of bothers me and I can't explain why.
It would actually make my life a lot easier if I could post a picture from someplace other than where I am now, because sometimes I can't find anything that I want to take a picture of, which is my fault, because if you look carefully there's always something interesting you can take a picture of.
When I started full-timeing I vowed not to put unnecessary rules on myself, after all what's the point of trying to live free if you make rules for yourself to follow that take away your own freedom. I think I've been pretty good at doing that with the easy things like, waking up when I want to, eating when I want to, and coming and going when I want to. But it's a lot harder when you start trying to undo the things in your mind that you know limits your freedom, and you don't know why you do them, but you still can't stop.
I once knew someone that would take a written grocery list to the store, and when they got home they would staple the grocery receipt to the grocery list and file it away in a filing cabinet. When I ask why they did this I was told it was so they could look back at a receipt from a previous year and see what something cost. My next question was, what is the point of knowing what something cost three years ago, that time, and that price is gone and it won't come back? They didn't have an answer for that, but they continued to follow that rule they made for themselves, as far as I know, till the day they died.
Those are the kind of self-made rules that I don't want cluttering up my brain, and taking away my freedom. But things like that are hard to stop doing. So if every once in a while you see a picture on my blog that I took six months ago, its not me being lazy, it's just me trying to be free.
A flight of pelicans looking for food Padre Island Texas